Thoughts on Democracy

This blog entry is related to the poll:What would you like to use this site for? (Total: 3 posts)
It is discussing the poll topics:
Other topics:

If we are to have a voice in our government, we must have a way to influence the choice of issues the government will address and the choice of the individuals we think best able to resolve them.

Fred Gohlke


As per your request, I have

As per your request, I have renamed your book Thoughts on Democracy.


I forgot about it, but I just found out that we have a wiki page on democracy:

There are many areas related to democracy that I'd like this web site to cover, like:
- what makes our current democracies flawed?
- are there any inherent flaws to the concept of democracy?
- fallacies in the political discourse:
- how to handle disagreements which are bound to occur on any discussion, especially about politics.
- how to conduct elections, how to select public leaders and public servants, which obviously is your main points behind your Practical Democracy proposal.

Importantly, whatever both of us discuss, I'd like future users to be able to find a nice summary of the findings and of all the topics we've covered, i.e. properly cover each topic in wiki pages, polls, and the community manifesto.

Are there any inherent flaws to the concept of democracy?

The question of "inherent flaws in the concept of democracy" worries me. I can't determine whether the flaw is in (what I believe to be) the common concept or in my concept.

The common concept seems to be that democracy means all people voting on all issues. I find that concept seriously flawed because, as Plato said, so many years ago, the people are 'too easily swayed by the emotional and deceptive rhetoric of ambitious politicians'

My concept of democracy is that it means the people select the best among them as their political leaders. This happens naturally among small groups of people, where the leaders are the individuals the group deems best able to advance their interest.

The weakness in my concept is the natural pursuit of self-interest. Those who achieve leadership positions tend to put their own interest above the interest of the group. Thus, what begins in a democratic fashion can change into an autocracy, or, as groups increase in size, to plutocracy.

There is no naturally-occurring mechanism to prevent the gradual transition away from democracy. In small groups, when there is dissent, it is resolved directly; by consensus, if possible, by force, if necessary. As the group size grows, the resolution of dissent tends to move from consensus to force.

The only way society can prevent the natural flow away from democracy is by devising and applying a mechanism that harnesses the pursuit of self-interest and directs it to serve the public welfare.

democracy-related wikis

Tags:+Nature of democracy +Failures of democracy +Representative democracy

Let's start seriously working on the democracy-related wiki pages.

Our conversation here is unlikely to be read by anybody else than us. The wiki however will be read by all the future members for years and decades to come. Developing the wiki will give us the opportunity to discuss things, explore our affinities and find out about our different perspectives. More importantly, the wiki is the productive output of our discussions.

I'm starting now. See my edits to the wiki pages... Remember, you can check the "Revisions" tab of any page to see what has changed between two revisions of a page.

Importantly, from your perspective, the same process can be applied to any topic you'd like to discuss. Create a new blog entry on any topic you'd like us to explore together, find out to what extent we agree, and where we disagree, and improve the related wiki pages in the process.

Materialism - Thoughts on People and Myths

I enjoyed your new article a lot:
I hope you don't mind, but I have made a few stylistic changes which you can review and revert if you wish.
I have added a couple of tags so that your article can more easily be found at any time in the future. I am also tempted to add the tag "Materialism" because that was the notion I kept thinking of while reading the article.

You wrote:

The Great Depression spawned the Swing era, which was decidedly upbeat. People with nothing found joy in hope. Could their music suggest that affluence has an adverse effect? No, that's too simplistic, but somewhere in there lays the germ of an important idea.

I so much agree!

Literally five minutes before reading your article for the first time, I was writing an email to a friend who was worried about me. I wrote:

I know what true human misery is, and compared to it, everything in my life is downright blissful! [Speaking of...] humanitarian campaigns. So whenever I was tempted to feel self-pity, I reminded myself of the countless ways that so many people around the globe might envy having the exact same life as I have, with all the material comfort and amenities I have access to, free from any real danger.

I live in a country that is utterly materialistic, which is defined by how much material goods you own, like, as you wrote, a status symbol.

Practical Democracy, 4 questions about groups of three

As described, randomly selected people form a triad. Is the “no family” database built on voluntary disclosure? With the 5 meeting rule, does that mean the minimum number required to form a group is 11? This will require a method of certification, possibly by petition. Also, any redistribution of members may cause a group to be instantly dissolved, and members placed in the largest set extant. I can people unilaterally leaving a group, but joining one where they are not wanted? Do you see budget limitations, regarding geography, becoming a veto on groups forming? The entire electorate should be bankrolling meetings for small, far flung groups?